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State of emergency declared in L.A. County as officials tally storm damage

Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles, Kings and Santa Barbara counties in response to destructive rains this week.

State of emergencies were already declared in Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo and Tulare counties.

The declarations came as work crews, residents and business owners traded sandbags for shovels Thursday to clean up after a week of storms that caused severe damage to at least 40 homes across Southern California and claimed one life.

Rescue crews shepherded dozens of stranded motorists and trapped residents to safety, but they could not reach Angela Marie Wright, 39, of Menifee, authorities confirmed Thursday.

She had been found dead in her car Wednesday afternoon after being swept off the road in storm waters in the Canyon Lake area of Riverside County, authorities said. One of the hardest hit locations was foothill community of Highland in San Bernardino County.

There, evacuations remained in force for 140 homes below an unstable 100-foot bluff. At least 26 homes, most of them in another Highland neighborhood where a creek that overflowed, sustained severe damage. Floodwaters left mud as deep as 4 feet and half-buried cars tipped at crazy angles.

It was a miracle no one died, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Bill Peters.

While the skies were clear for at least part of Thursday, forecasters said another storm could move into Southern California on Christmas Day.

Maldonado was acting on behalf of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was not in the state Thursday.

--Howard Blume and Evan Halper

 
Comments () | Archives (13)

It's been a State of Emergency since i can remember. And then again since 1999 with the return of Randall.

Are you kidding??? Just a little over-reaction, isn't it???

Where's Governor Hasta La Vista?
Back home in Austria?

I am very sorry to hear of the fate of Ms. Wright. My condolences to her family.

i already know some religious nuts are going to say god caused this disaster because of how easy it is to obtain cannabis... if anything it is good for you. get your facts straight kids.

WOW! HOLY FREAKING COW! THIS IS TOO MUCH!

instead of preparing for the oncoming floods, los angeles citizens were busy calling people/things gay.

Horrific event, particularly just before Christmas as Mother Nature's wrath continues to take its toll. Residents' homes washed away, mud slides and destruction everywhere leaving it looking like a war zone. I can't imagine having to evacuate and spend the Christmas Holidays in a shelter, especially with the little ones. Hope Santa manages to visit them and bring them a little cheer.

One could argue that these floods are manmade. Too many people crowded into too small space. Years and years of fire suppression of the woodlands to protect the grand houses on the hillsides resulted in the raging wildfires of the past several years. Now floods, which always follow fires.

..but let's keep cutting our rescue crews to save money..we are strange creatures. That poor woman.

Devastating rains in December? A horrid winter in Europe? Droughts in Africa?

Climate change.

We underestimated the positive feedback loops.

"She had been found dead in her car Wednesday afternoon..."

..."It was a miracle no one died, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Bill Peters."

am i missing something?


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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